Warsi investigation 'to pick up loose ends'

 

An inquiry in to whether Conservative Party co-chairman Baroness Warsi breached the ministerial code will pick up any loose ends, Prime Minister David Cameron said today. 

Lady Warsi is accused of breaking the rules when she was accompanied by business partner Abid Hussain on an official visit to Pakistan.

Mr Cameron immediately faced criticism yesterday when he announced the investigation by Sir Alex Allan for not announcing a similar inquiry in to whether Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt broke guidelines in his handling of News Corporation's bid to take over the satellite broadcaster BSkyB.

But today, the Prime Minister defended his decision not to order an investigation by Sir Alex, his independent adviser on ministerial interests, in to whether Mr Hunt broke the rules too.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Cameron said: "They were two very different cases. In the case of Jeremy Hunt, obviously all of that has been gone through by the Leveson Inquiry.

"In the case of Sayeeda Warsi, I am very happy with the explanation she has given. She has apologised for the mistake she has made but I think it right for Sir Alex Allan just to see if there are any loose ends that need to be picked up. It's no more than that."

Mr Hussain attended Lady Warsi's July 2010 visit to Pakistan, soon after she had joined the coalition Cabinet.

In her letter of apology to the Prime Minister, she said "community activist" Mr Hussain was among a number of members of the Pakistani diaspora in the UK who had assisted the British High Commission with outreach events in Pakistan in July 2010.

Although it was "widely known" that he was her husband's second cousin, she said, she had not realised the need to declare that they also had "a common business interest as minority shareholders in a small food company".

"I sincerely regret that I did not consider the significance of this relationship with Mr Hussain when the arrangements for the visit were being made. In retrospect, I accept that I should have made officials aware of the business relationship between Mr Hussain and myself, and for this I am sorry," she wrote.

"I regret that this failure may have caused embarrassment to the Government."

Mr Cameron responded that she should have "proactively" raised the business interest she shared with Mr Hussain with the Foreign Office and the Cabinet Office.

He wrote: "The Ministerial Code requires ministers to ensure no real or perceived conflict between their official responsibilities and their personal interests.

"However, as you say, you did declare to the Cabinet Office your own interest in the company, and I note too the other points you make - in particular that this was not a trade-related visit, and Mr Hussain did not gain any financial or business advantage from his involvement in voluntarily assisting the High Commission with the event.

"This seems to me to be important to take into account in responding to this issue. I accept too your apology for your error and for any embarrassment to the Government.

"There are clearly some lessons for future handling and I have asked Alex Allan, my adviser on Ministers' interests, to consider the issues that have been raised with respect to the Ministerial Code and to provide advice to me as rapidly as possible."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor